Weekend Preview: UND vs. Colorado College

It appears that there is a power outage in Grand Forks. UND has been shut out in three of their last six games (vs. St. Cloud, at Minnesota, at Bemidji) and are averaging less than 2.5 goals per game after scoring over four goals per game in last season’s run to the Frozen Four.

The Fighting Sioux are also struggling defensively and between the pipes, allowing three goals per game, almost a full goal more than last year.

Granted, this year’s roster is substantially different than last year, and the coaches continue to preach patience. Younger players are gaining experience in key situations, and that will benefit UND in the second half.

Colorado College is hoping to take things one step further than last year. CC’s season ended in similar fashion to North Dakota’s, as the Tigers also lost a tight contest to Michigan in the NCAA tournament.

The Tigers are led by Jaden and Rylan Schwartz, but they also have depth up front, offensive defensemen, and solid goaltending. CC has scored at least three goals in every game this year, but they have gone a pedestrian 3-2 in their last five games after opening the year 4-0.

Colorado College Team Profile

Head Coach: Scott Owens (13th season at CC, 288-171-41, .617)
Pairwise Ranking: 5th
National Rankings: #4/#4
This Season: 7-2-0 overall, 5-2-0 WCHA (6th)
Last Season: 23-19-3 overall (NCAA West Regional finalist), 13-13-2 WCHA (6th)

Team Offense: 4.33 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 2.67 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 25.5% (12 of 47)
Penalty Kill: 85.0% (34 of 40)

Key Players: Sophomore F Jaden Schwartz (5-8-13), Junior F Rylan Schwartz (7-4-11),Senior F Nick Dineen (7-3-10), Senior D Gabe Guentzel (2-8-10), Junior D Mike Boivin (2-6-8), Junior G Joe Howe (4-1-0, 2.69 GAA, .906 SV%)

North Dakota Team Profile

Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (8th season at UND, 191-100-28, .643)
Pairwise Ranking: NR
National Rankings: NR/NR
This Season: 4-7-1 overall, 2-6-0 WCHA (t-10th)
Last Season: 32-9-3 overall (NCAA Frozen Four semifinalist), 21-6-1 WCHA (1st)

Team Offense: 2.42 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.00 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 18.0% (11 of 61)
Penalty Kill: 82.4% (42 of 51)

Key Players: Junior F Danny Kristo (4-8-12) Junior F Corban Knight (5-7-12), Sophomore F Brock Nelson (7-4-11), Sophomore D Derek Forbort (1-2-3), Senior D Ben Blood (1-2-3), Freshman D Nick Mattson (2-4-6), Junior G Aaron Dell (3-6-1, 2.87 GAA, .887 SV%)

By The Numbers

Last Meeting: March 18, 2011 (St. Paul, MN). Sioux senior forward Matt Frattin broke a 3-3 tie in the third period to propel North Dakota to the championship game of the WCHA Final Five. The goal was Frattin’s 34th of the season. UND winger Danny Kristo also scored in his first game back since suffering a case of frostbite on his right foot.

Last Meeting in Grand Forks: March 1, 2009. One night after skating to a 4-4 sister kisser, the two teams went to overtime yet again. Colorado College started the extra session with 1:50 of power play time, but UND killed the penalty and went on the offensive. Sioux center Darcy Zajac potted the game winner with 95 seconds remaining in the extra frame.

Most Important Meeting: March 27, 1997. UND defeated Colorado College, 6-2, in the Frozen Four Semifinals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Two nights later, North Dakota downed Boston University, 6-4, to claim its sixth NCAA Championship. North Dakota and Colorado College also met in the 2001 East Regional (Worcester, Mass.), with UND prevailing, 4-1.

All-time Series: UND leads the all-time series, 135-76-10 (.633), including a remarkable 80-19-6 (.790) edge in games played in Grand Forks. The teams first met in 1948.

Last Ten: North Dakota is 7-2-1 (.750) in the last ten meetings between the teams.

Game News and Notes

North Dakota has lost three of four one-goal games this season. Colorado College has nine games remaining against the top four teams in the WCHA (Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Denver, and Nebraska-Omaha), Only nine Sioux skaters have appeared in more than one game against Colorado College in their career. The Tigers have outscored opponents 15-6 in third periods this season.

The Prediction

I have a feeling that this won’t go well for North Dakota. The only two advantages that UND has are a home crowd and the ability to match up defensively with the Schwartz line. With the students gone for Thanksgiving break, it’s down to one advantage. The Fighting Sioux will keep one game close and get blown out in the other. UND could win a tight game on Friday, but I’ll call it a tie instead. 3-3 tie, CC 5-1.

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